Open thread – it’s yours again!

Have at it! You know the rules: Mine + TNC’s = awesome commenting.

154 Comments

  1. Juaquin Murrieta

     /  March 24, 2011

    It’s pouring down rain here (SF Bay Area) and I’m preparing for a week alone in my jeep in the Mojave Desert, where, of course, it is not pouring down rain. I do this every year. Since 1978.

    Anyone else make a practice of going off by themselves regularly? I realize that a lot of folks here don’t have families, but I do, four kids and four grandkids and assorted hangers-on (plus my husband of course, without whom I could not have produced this tribe, not being the Virgin Mary), and I love them all to pieces, but there’s something about the silence of the desert….

    • JHarper2

       /  March 24, 2011

      I mostly disappear into my reading and thoughts. The silence of the desert sounds lovely to me, but going away for a week alone, although it tickles the romantic in me, is not something I have cared about enough to do. A lot of the time though for me, it is forcing myself to go out and be with people that I have to find the energy to accomplish.

      I hope you come back from the desert with head cleared and spirit refreshed.

      Travel safe; you have shared enough that we know you have much on your mind.

    • k___bee

       /  March 24, 2011

      Well, I go on at least one vacation sans boyfriend a year, though I go with friends. And I regularly take myself out to breakfast alone, and go to museums alone.

      This was actually the result of one of those epiphanies you have when you’re single – I always take extra good care of myself after a breakup, and then I thought “why should I take less good care of myself when I’m partnered the next time?” So the self-pampering has continued since then.

      Traveling, though, I really prefer to do with others. I can’t very well keep up a running commentary on the trees/buildings/rocks/paths/lizards/squirrels/human beings nearby if I am alone, can I?

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 24, 2011

      For me it’s weekends more often than weeks, and “mountain islands” in the desert more often than it’s barren expanses, but yes. Alternating between near-lifeless rocky slopes and isolated verdant summit “islands” gives a lot of quiet beauty to marvel at. Nothing compares to a flat plain of stark emptiness, but those are generally a much greater distance away from me (the Sonoran Desert is rather “lush”).

      • Juaquin Murrieta

         /  March 24, 2011

        Sonoran Desert – we have a little in California, way to the south – has its own kind of beauty too. Too long a drive for me usually, but I’ve been there and learned to love it.

    • Ian

       /  March 24, 2011

      Have good time out there. I need to do more of this. It’s hard for me to get away in the summer, and winter camping isn’t my favorite thing, but I would like to find a way to spend more time by myself in relative silence.

      • Juaquin Murrieta

         /  March 24, 2011

        It’s deeply nourishing. Until you try it, you have no idea, I think.

    • taylor16

       /  March 24, 2011

      I’ve never gone on vacation alone, but I very very very much value my independent “alone” time. My husband works nights/weekends and is usually only home 3 nights per week before about 11 or 12. A lot of people ask how I can stand him not being home every night, but the truth is that I really love still having alone time. I can sit and read without having to make conversation with someone else, or I can go out to dinner with a friend, or I can watch a stupid movie, or just wander around shopping by myself for a few hours.

      I wonder whether I’d like traveling alone. I enjoy sightseeing on my own. But I’m a city person, not a “go off in the wilderness” kind of traveler, so I think I might get a little lonely at mealtimes, eating alone in restaurants.

      • When Husband and I moved in together, I worked M-F 8 – 5 and he worked Tu-Sat 3-11. It was perfect for adapting to the new environment, for each maintaining our own space while living together, and so on.

        When he got a day job, we moved to a larger apartment — because each having private space, and being able to be home together while each having a “me” place to go to — was REALLY important to me. I miss some of the alone time I used to have. Wouldn’t trade it, and what we do now is working, but I miss being able to just put on a Disney movie while I cleaned the place on a Saturday without being asked questions.

    • Nothing much to add here, just co-signing to going off on my own, especially out in the desert. I used to have an old Jeep CJ-7, but after one too many incidents of having it break down miles away from civilization, my risk-aversion has kicked in and I generally stick to at least the well-maintained dirt roads that I can access in a regular passenger vehicle.

  2. JHarper2

     /  March 24, 2011

    Hi Emily and Emily’s mini-horde (waves from couch).
    Curling update for Emily. I just finished watching the curling live from Denmark.
    Canada is finished the round robin portion of the tournament and has secured either a play-off berth or the right to play a tie-breaker to get in. The final results will await the last round of round-robin games later today. Currently Sweden is in first, with China second. Korea, Scotland, Denmark, Germany and the Czech Republic are out. The playoff formula is too complicated to explain. This concludes Emily’s curling update.

    We now resume the Emily OTAN.

    • Yay! I can’t get over how tickled I am that curling really is a THING-thing. My most recent exposure to it was on The Colbert Report, before the Olympics….

      Also: China and Korea have curling teams. 0.0

      • JHarper2

         /  March 24, 2011

        Chinese team are former world champions. For some time they moved to Quebec to immerse themselves in curling.
        Korea beat China at the Pacific Rim Championships this year.
        Germany got involved in curling when Canadian (and I suspect) Scottish troops established curling facilities on their NATO bases in the aftermath of WW2.

        I am a fund of useless information to a nice lady living in Chicago.

        • The Chinese are the former world champions… I… I am gob-smacked. Of course, “they moved to Quebec to immerse themselves in curling.” Of course.

          There is no end to the things I know absolutely nothing about! And no end, apparently, to the things at which the Chinese will eventually beat the West at.

    • SWNC

       /  March 24, 2011

      Emily’s mini-horde

      Hordette?

  3. taylor16

     /  March 24, 2011

    Okay, continuing the conversation from the other thread – has anyone ever emailed TNC to pick his brain about getting some help with moderating?

    I know that people have mentioned it in comment threads, but I can understand why he wouldn’t take that as a serious offer of help.

    Nor would I expect him to contemplate options right there in the comments (“Well Emily, I’d trust you to moderate, but not X, Y, and Z commenters …”). It seems like a big brouhaha waiting to happen.

    So has anyone ever emailed him to ask? From the top comment thread at his place right now, it seems like he’d at least consider it (see his response to brook10).

    And really, all selfishness aside (as I miss the place when it’s not around), the community is wayyyyy too huge for him to fully moderate unless he’s literally glued to his computer.

    • I said in yesterday’s thread, but about 5 minutes before today’s opened:

      I think TNC would strongly benefit from volunteer moderators, at least in the short term. But in the longer term, I think The Atlantic needs to create a community manager position, and have someone really on this, coordinating efforts and setting standards across their site.

      Which is why I’m writing them to that effect. And also attaching a resume.

      They need someone doing it, and doing it well. That I want it to be me is a secondary point, but if they get the right person I’ll be happy if it isn’t me, too.

      • JHarper2

         /  March 24, 2011

        K_Commenter, if you need a reference…..

        • I’ll second that reference. I feel like a lot of folks here would do a great job of unobtrusive moderating. I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it myself but you guys are pretty phenomenal about moderation as is. Usually, if someone’s out of line, there are already folks who speak up. To give one or two of them hide-rating powers doesn’t seem like a stretch at all. TNC can keep his banhammer that way.

      • And as I said over there, 30 seconds before today’s opened/I opened today’s: Please let this happen. Please, please, please, please.

        I cannot tell you how happy I would be, as a member of the Horde and as your internet pal, if you created and were given this job. Please, please, please, FSM, please?

      • Ian

         /  March 24, 2011

        I don’t know about this. What do you mean by “standards across their site”? It sounds like something that would improve the unmoderated regions, but maybe make the livelier places blander.

        This might put me in the minority, but I don’t think I want anyone other than TNC moderating his comments. It’s disappointing when comments are closed, but I can live with it.

        • I just answered to SWNC, but by “standards” I mean only a very basic level — “fuck off and die” by itself without other content not ever being a productive response, say.

          Also when thinking “standards,” I more had in mind that if they do bring community people on board eventually, they’re going to need to agree what is and isn’t okay and apply it evenly — not in a way that would change the tone of any of the communities (if people choose a hostile and adversarial participation, that’s fine) but just in a way that would be consistent.

          • Ian

             /  March 24, 2011

            I think you’re right that the Atlantic has an opportunity to increase its readership by fostering interesting comments sections across the board. I think the news articles are an obvious place where they could do that. I’m not sold on the idea of bringing community people in to help bloggers moderate.

            I wouldn’t call TNC’s moderating consistent. I would call it awesome, but not consistent. Sometimes it’s because he’s not checking regularly, but other times it seems like a function of, maybe, his mood. To me that’s a strength. I feel like there’s a kind of artistic unity between his writing and his moderating that would be lost if you introduced other moderators, who would have to strive for consistency to be seen as fair.

            • I do think there’s definitely something to be said for that — which is why no volunteer or paid mods have been introduced at this point. You don’t want to lose the authentic voice and real discussion that comes with that level of discretion.

              But on the other hand, sometimes things are just plain flat out of line, and when there’s only one set of authorized eyes available, well, that can create real problems. Though I will say, its surprising and admirable how rare the real trolls are. But sometimes even regulars need to be told to step off. I wouldn’t want anyone but TNC to have the power of the banhammer, but the ability to hide posts or temporarily suspend other users (for short bursts — say, 6 hours) in other hands might be an inevitability.

        • I agree with Ian as to the actual content of comments. What I like about TNC’s place is that he pretty much owns it. His rules; he decides.

          On the other hand, I agree that the job is more than one man can handle, especially as that man has so many other things on his plate. So, other mods who keep an eye out for basic things such as, “No derailing–bring it to the OTAN” might be a good idea.

      • SWNC

         /  March 24, 2011

        That’s a great idea. Do you think the other bloggers would want moderating standards, though? It seems like a few of them really enjoy the rough and tumble of their comments section. If those blogs were better moderated, I would be much more likely to comment on them, though.

        (Or maybe you were talking about something else with setting standards, and I misunderstood.)

        • Well, that’s a thing that’s open, obviously. The Atlantic isn’t *a* web community; its a series of web communities, each with their own tone and voice, and those should be respected and maintained. (And in the case of some blogs / authors, there’s a lot of yet-unused growth opportunity there.)

          That said, I think there are a few basic standards of decency that should be applied across the places they’re not, now. I don’t know if “I am going to find you and kill you in your sleep because you and all your kind are always horrible and wrong” is ever an allowable response to a disagreement, even if you agree to have an adversarial and argumentative comment section (like, say, McMegan’s).

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  March 24, 2011

        I think TNC would strongly benefit from volunteer moderators, at least in the short term. But in the longer term, I think The Atlantic needs to create a community manager position, and have someone really on this, coordinating efforts and setting standards across their site.

        Put me strongly in favor of individual communities moderating themselves over a site-wide standards regime. I have offered my services as a volunteer Hordemod, but I have zero desire to police the cesspits of the Atlantic wire areas.

        Furthermore, I recoil from the thought of creating a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter stamp to slam down across the entire Atlantic site, because I guarantee that the Horde will lose more from that imposition than it will gain. The first thing such efforts tend to do is set up a FAQ of codes and forbidden conduct, and that FAQ only grows with time. Those codes often immediately curtail topic migration and word choice (swear words and other “inappropriate” language), when actual trollery and flame wars frequently use “polite” intimidating political language that the codes can never address. Those codes never address “good faith,” which is always a judgment call but is also always the only thing that actually matters.

        In my experience, “managed communities” of commenters, with actual hired community managers and moderators, are endless vistas of comments deleted and aggressively edited for being “off topic” or using “inappropriate language,” while fostering little to no actual community whatsoever. They are, in my opinion, even less worthwhile than extremist rant sites, in that they equally fail to really grapple with the issues while also having the flaw of being dull as ditchwater.

        • See above my other responses, in particular that the Atlantic is not a single community and even with standards across variations never will be, but rather a series of communities, each of which will always have its own mores but across which a certain baseline could still apply.

          • Darth Thulhu

             /  March 24, 2011

            Agreed. The only near-universal baselines are “no spamming” and “no trolling” … but given the perpetual existence at the Atlantic of commenters such as LeftIsAlwaysRight, I’m not sure there’s much real consensus on what “no trolling” fully entails.

            Beyond that, the failures at Coatesia of late have been failures on the parts of regulars, and frequently a matter of one regular commenter making a questionable or unacceptable comment, and then several other regulars reacting intensely to that comment, with many of the intense responses introducing some new twist of inappropriateness.

            But all of the “unacceptableness / inappropriateness” on the parts of these regulars is absolutely ok behavior in other areas of the Atlantic, especially the political point-scoring digressions. Coatesia’s special problems are really problems unto itself, in relation to its own standards, and it needs a focused answer, I believe, not an Atlantic-wide response.

            • Juaquin Murrieta

               /  March 24, 2011

              Totally agree, DT. I read other blogs at the Atlantic too, and I’m constantly thinking wow, you SO would not get away with this at TNC!!

      • Little_Gidding

         /  March 24, 2011

        I would agree with this (minus the wanting the job myself–not my cup of tea). They need someone to moderate full time even when TNC is around, because the volume of comments is just way too high, given his other job responsibilities.

        I’m probably less comfortable with the idea of volunteer mods for the Horde than I am anywhere else… everyone’s too damn smart for it to be an easy job and effective modding really requires being able to see things from a lot of angles and reflecting a lot of different sensitivities. And most of the regulars have various — well, they may be too fluid to call them factions, but something along those lines… cohorts, I guess — of people they tend to agree with, that it could get very difficult to stay really even-keeled about everything. Or at least I would find it so, even being less integrated into the community than most of the people who’ve been around longer.

      • Anibundel

         /  March 24, 2011

        Shit. Who do I write to? I need that job.

    • Juaquin Murrieta

       /  March 24, 2011

      My daughter (age 41) got involved in a blog called Making Light (which I recommend), a private thing run by a married couple both of whom are professional writers/editors, and in her case, a paid moderator at another blog. Eventually Daughter (Abi Sutherland) ended up being one of several moderators there. The job just got too big for the bloggers.

      This seems to work well at Making Light. Though I’ve been instructed to stay away from the place – Abi wants her own space – I do cruise over now and again, and making moderation a team effort takes the burden off one person and makes the thing go, I think.

      But Making Light is a private space. No one is paying the owners for this particular effort (though I imagine the blog is an important part of their resumes). TNC is an editor and blogger paid by The Atlantic Monthly for his efforts. I don’t know, of course, what his financial arrangements are with The Atlantic, nor how big a part of his responsibilities the blog is. I’m certain that among us we could assemble a very competent team of volunteer blog moderators, but I’m not certain how the editorial and managerial staff at Atlantic would take this. (If I’m hired to do a job, usually my employers do not expect or permit me to associate a lot of volunteers to do part of my job for me.)

      I don’t have the stature for this post, but there are people who do, and I’d urge anyone who feels up to the task to email him and put it to him. He would be able to untangle the relationships with The Atlantic.

      • There are actually a lot of paid / company sites out there that rely on unpaid mod staff. I was a community moderator for two years (1999 – 2000) at AOL; got a free subscription out of the deal but that was it. They had a pretty rigorous application / virtual interview process, as I remember it.

        Husband also used to be unpaid forum staff for GameTap for a couple of years, before and during the time they were a TimeWarner company. He bailed when the company got sold and abused and ignored one too many times and he wanted to distance himself from the brand — but they’d have kept him on if he wanted.

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          Thanks, K_Commenter, I didn’t know that. Since that’s the case, perhaps the idea of a moderating team for TNC wouldn’t be so radical as all that. A good fact.

      • taylor16

         /  March 24, 2011

        Well, I wasn’t necessarily thinking that it should be a completely volunteer position. What I envision is a few people who work on sort of a quasi-contractual basis. So TNC would email, say, K_Commenter and ask if she would be free to moderate comments between the hours of 8 and 4 on a particular day. If she is free, she is then paid per her contract for those 8 hours of work.

        I know it’s a different type of blog (i.e., with no comments), but Andrew Sullivan has had a paid staff, right?

    • JHarper2

       /  March 24, 2011

      The idea of a group of senior horders, who are intelligent, well schooled in the mores of the Lost Battalion, who are level-headed but quick to protect the quality of the conversation is very appealing to me.

      The idea of a dedicated Moderator to help TNC as per K_Commenter’s suggestion below is also appealling (especially if it is her or someone quite like her), but the moderation arising from the horde is the idea I marginally prefer of the two.

      The one is more community based and anarchic, the other would likely work a little more smoothly.

      • k___bee

         /  March 24, 2011

        I am usually all for “community-based and anarchic” but I’m painfully aware that that usually also means “working for nothing” so, you know, fingers crossed for K_Commenter!

        Don’t know much about moderating, as this is one of the only internet communities I’ve ever been involved in – but it seems like a huge amount of work. My feeling about managing spaces in general is that it’s a job one should get paid for. So it would make me kind of sad to see Horde members stepping up to moderate for jack squiddly, in a way.

    • stephen matlock

       /  March 25, 2011

      I’m OK with comments being closed rather than having guest moderators. I want to see TNC live his life and write his work, and if that means comments go away from his posts, I’m happy because he’s not swelling with frustration at the bad manners (which include not reading what he wrote and commenting on that). Moderating comments on a blog should, IMO, be way down on his list of priorities.

      I wish there was a vetting process for commentors. It’s been my experience while reading the comments at TNC’s place that most of the long-time commentors understand the rules and play nice, even on controversial topics. Most of the problems seem to come from people who are new and who think it’s like other open blogs at TheAtlantic.com, or regular contributors who don’t know when it’s time to strike the flag and choose another hill to die on.

  4. mightbelying

     /  March 24, 2011

    I am having the strangest week. My paper was accepted for publication! But my grant was not funded. I got a fellowship for next year! But I just found out my advisor is leaving, effective pretty much ASAP.

    Also it is the end of March and it is snowing.

    WTF, world?

    • Juaquin Murrieta

       /  March 24, 2011

      Well, you can focus on the negatives or you can focus on the positives (since you have both). I’d recommend the positives, you’ll feel better for it.

    • Yay! And aw, I’m sorry. And I agree: WTF, world? On so many levels.

    • Ian

       /  March 24, 2011

      Congratulations on the paper. In the long run, that might be the most important thing. Is there anyone else at your school who’d make a suitable advisor?

    • taylor16

       /  March 24, 2011

      Yay on the paper and the fellowship! You are one step ahead of me the last time I tried to get outside funding. It’s hard to get historical media content analysis funded … who knew?? 🙂

      The advisor thing is rough. Is there someone else who does work in your area who would be a good advisor? Or would you still be able to work with your current advisor on a virtual basis?

  5. TNC’s lament about the need for constant comment moderation leads to only one conclusion:

    The Atlantic needs to hire TNC a Comment Moderator.

    Lessee, someone with:
    1) Good computer skills
    2) Background in journalism with an emphasis on editing
    3) Readily available with resume in hand
    4) Low salary demand

    SO WHO WANTS MY RESUME! Hire me! 🙂

    • Juaquin Murrieta

       /  March 24, 2011

      I support all qualified candidates, and the concept in general!

      This too. TNC is getting impatient with us, IMHO. Some of the stuff in the offending thread was out of line, but a lot of it wasn’t, and it took me a while to figure out what had happened. He’s got a lot on his plate, both personally and professionally, and screwing around with a blog is a real time and energy eater. He obviously could really use some backup.

      • &chik

         /  March 24, 2011

        I know this isn’t necessarily a popular opinion, but I didn’t think that what happened in the Chris Brown thread was horribly egregious. It was out of line, yes. It was not the most out of line thing I’ve ever seen on the interwebs in my life, nor do I really understand why it led to the response that it did from TNC.

        I love participating in TNC’s community, but it is going to be pretty much impossible for me to do so if he is going to throw a bunch of threads up at 10:30 at night, allow commenting for an hour, and then shut it down. I fear this approach will also stifle the voice of the members of the Horde weighing in from Germany, Japan, and lots of other places around the world where they might be sleeping for the 10 – 11 pm period that threads are open.

        Those are just my two cents. I have unbridled love for what TNC has built, but I fear that he’s undoing a lot of that good by acting a bit petulant over an incident that just wan’t that bad, at least objectively.

        • In a way I agree, and in a way I don’t.

          I agree it wasn’t terrible. It was stupid, it was classic derailing, it was trollery from an unexpected (and thus even less pleasant) corner, and it was a pain in the ass. My entire MO in such situations is to either a) ignore it completely or b) make one very pointed comment and then ignore it completely. I reallyreally wish the rest of the wise and good internet would do a similar thing, because we often create the problem that we are trying to get rid of by allowing one stupid comment to derail an entire thread. I feel this way about Sarah Palin too, by the way, but that is, perhaps, a subject for a different post!

          But the thing is: TNC’s house is not my house, and in his house, his rules are the rules. I once got on someone’s (…) case for not following my rule of “don’t bash TNC’s bandmates here” and said something like “Look, if I said ‘don’t come into my living room and blow your vuvuzela, my other guests really don’t like it,’ and you went ahead and blew your vuvuzela all over the place? I’d probably be mad — madder still if you were, in fact, my friend and regular guest.”

          The derailing that went on was absolutely button-pushing for TNC, and the derailer(s) knew it. That to me is the terrible thing: Someone invites you in, and you are blatantly rude, to no good end. The “terrible” wasn’t in the content of the thread, but in the attitude behind it. To my mind.

          I also think of the sheer quantity of conversations and dynamics and cross-dynamics that our Ta-Nehisi has to stay on top of in order to continue to facilitate the kind of community he so clearly values — and I want to take a nap after just thinking about it. I think he just gets really frustrated some days. Had he been there to stop it, he would have just stopped it and none of the rest would have happened. But he wasn’t, and I can only imagine that was insanely frustrating for him.

          • k___bee

             /  March 24, 2011

            This. It reminded me of an incident where I was interning at a community space, where we would regularly have open house nights where young people from the neighborhood could come and just hang out… cue up their favorite songs on youtube and sing along, talk to us about whatever thing they were currently geeking out about, etc. Long story short some equipment went missing and we found out it had been taken by one of the youth who came around every week.

            It was a really troubling incident mostly because it damaged our trust in ALL of the kids. In one way, that wasn’t fair, but in another way having your openness be taken advantage of like that is just something you can’t ignore. Like, I’d helped the thief out with his resume one time! Who was to say that some of those other sweet-heart 15 year olds didn’t have some criminal energy of their own?

            Suffice it to say that we made sure everything was cleaned up, locked away, or nailed to the floor at every open house after that, and we were constantly on edge.

            That is what happens when a “regular” breaks your trust – you don’t know where the next betrayal may come from…

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          Thanks, &chik, you said it better than I did.

          Someone said to one of the offenders, on the offending thread, something to the effect of, ‘man, you’ve been testy lately, is everything OK in your life?’ We all, including TNC, are human beings, and we really do not live our entire lives on the internet. What’s going on elsewhere does affect us. TNC admitted that he’s short on sleep, and hence on patience. I’m hoping that when he comes back and gets some rest things will fall back into place.

          JHarper says, I do know I don’t want to lose the insights of TNC and the conversations that arise, nor do I want to lose my connection to all you guys.

          Me too.

        • My guess is that the banhammer dropped b/c of the situation with Euda that was just, what, a week earlier? When old time posters say something shitty, then everyone pushes back, that the original poster continues on and won’t let it drop…that’s not looking good. To me, that was the egregious error. Basically, we did try to police ourselves, and a regular poster—even with many, many, many voices urging him to stand down—would not stop. If you’re TNC, that’s gotta be frustrating.

          I had my hand slapped once by TNC, and my response was not to try to explain further, but to just let it go. If each and everyone of us can’t do that, then maybe we do need a cooling off period. The reason I like his blog is because of the lack of knee-jerk “but someone on the internet is wrong” posting. It’s not cool to make it personal, and for that I think shutting it down was the right thing to do.

          • Yeah. I felt that, too. I jumped into that fracas (in an OTAN, no less), and I walked away feeling like I should have just kept my mouth shut. It was stupid of me to get involved at that point, but some buttons were being pushed for me as well. As a result, I put myself on a timeout and haven’t commented over there since but once or twice. I think nerves are frayed right now.

          • Juaquin Murrieta

             /  March 24, 2011

            yeh, I screwed up once and he whapped me, and I was so ashamed of myself that I shut up for a while. I felt awful. Most of us don’t need a formal cooling-off period, but for those few that get the bit in their teeth it might be a good idea.

          • Ian

             /  March 24, 2011

            Heh. Whenever one of my comments gets deleted, my first thought is, “Dude actually reads my comments! Neat.”

            • Where’s the like button when you need one?

            • Little_Gidding

               /  March 24, 2011

              Ditto. Though I was getting slapped for making an argument without citing specifics, not getting deleted. Not entirely sure how I’d feel about the latter.

          • JHarper2

             /  March 24, 2011

            I was hand-slapped last week, I posted something that was worded badly, in a way that would (I see now) have taken things in a bad direction.
            That wasn’t my intent, but all TNC and you others can see is my words so I must be careful with them.
            I just shut up, and followed Neighbors73’s advice, even though I hadn’t heard it yet!

            When you are wrong, being loudly and persistently wrong doesn’t help, if you don’t think you are wrong; sit down and think it out before speaking again, don’t keep talking.

            • SWNC

               /  March 24, 2011

              There’s a great Russian proverb (at least I’ve been told it’s a Russian proverb) which says, “If nine people tell you that you’re drunk, go lie down.” I think a lot of folks online–sometimes myself included–could heed that advice.

              • Juaquin Murrieta

                 /  March 24, 2011

                Where the heck is the LIKE button???

              • I’ve heard: “If one person tells you you have a tail, you laugh at them. If two people do, you laugh more. If a third one does, turn around and look in the mirror.”

        • SWNC

           /  March 24, 2011

          I didn’t think that what happened in the Chris Brown thread was horribly egregious. It was out of line, yes. It was not the most out of line thing I’ve ever seen on the interwebs in my life, nor do I really understand why it led to the response that it did from TNC.
          I see where you’re coming from, and compared to a lot of stuff that you can find online, the offending comment was weak tea.

          But I can absolutely understand why it got a strong response from TNC: you have a regular, valued commenter who usually posts interesting, thoughtful stuff going in a cheap, political point-scoring direction. That kind of comment does not facilitate thoughtful conversation. There are thousands of places online where you can go if nasty political sniping and one-upsmanship are your thing. It’s not cool to bring it into a place that explicitly does not go for that, particularly when you’re a regular who ought to know better.

      • k___bee

         /  March 24, 2011

        Yeah I think he’s getting impatient. I’d be impatient too. Fact is that the dude has a huge sense of responsibility toward his blog, which is what makes it awesome. But the level of obligation I read in that Night Shift post also made me HEADDESK. Nobody should have to apologize for not posting for a day, and it’s heartbreaking to think that TNC might be losing sleep about what’s going on in the comments section.

        I mean, do I want to not have a daily OTAN? Hell no I would love a daily OTAN. But I don’t feel entitled to one, you know?

        Ugh, I hate meta discussion, definitely my last meta post for the day/week/month/year.

        • It does get exhausting. The last half-hour here have worn me out.

          (That, or that I haven’t eaten lunch yet.)

        • JHarper2

           /  March 24, 2011

          I wish I had a like button, for this post and especially the comments about TNCs sense of responsibility.

          I had two senses about the late night posting. Although he was disappointed about some of the behaviour on Tuesday, he did not want to disappoint the horde by going completely silent. This of course conflicted with his growing sense that he cannot responsibly leave things unmoderated.

          Second, the man just bubbles over with ideas and feelings about all the important things in his life, and the non-family ones bubble out on his blog. He needs to conversate, but he needs a proper place to do so, and a place with people jumping on the furniture and throwing down and being disrespectful offends his sense of what a decent informative and learning conversation looks like.

          The place has grown so much, which is a tribute to the quality of the conversation and the people it has attracted to comment and join the community. But this growth has also made the burden of overseeing the conversation grow until the responsibility of keeping the conversation in bounds has possibly overshadowed the joy in initiating and taking part.

          I don’t know if TNC feels he can or wants others to pick up part of the responsibility for the place that bears his name and imprint. That is his decision. If this is the end of this iteration of TNC’s then I will be grateful for what we had. If things evolve in another direction then I will do all I can to go in that direction.

          I do know I don’t want to lose the insights of TNC and the conversations that arise, nor do I want to lose my connection to all you guys.

          • k___bee

             /  March 24, 2011

            Yeah. I hope things get figured out. If part of that is less posts or less opportunities to comment, I understand that completely. And indeed growth is always both a joy and a burden, in any community.

            Personally I appreciate the Horde and what TNC does, very much. But geez – this is all too much Serious Business for me! 😦

        • SWNC

           /  March 24, 2011

          I agree. I try hard to look at TNC’s commenting space as a gift rather than an entitlement. It’s lovely, it makes my life better, but it doesn’t belong to me.

      • enstar

         /  March 24, 2011

        i don’t think it’s just that he has a lot on his plate–i think the biggest thing going on right now is that the community has grown to be rather large, in comparison to what it was, and as a natural consequence of size the community is also starting to evolve in ways that he can’t completely dictate or control.

        just think of his dinner party analogy. when it’s your house, you can set rules and guidelines for obvious behavior that pretty much everyone will adhere to or enforce. someone starts cursing another person out at the table, they get tossed. but when your table grows to include hundreds of people, you end up spending all of your time trying to make it so the actual logistics of the conversation can happen–tossing out the people who interrupt, or insult each other, or troll for debate points–and can’t really guide the group’s conversation to any level of nuance or depth.

        basically, it feels like his frustration is less that the conversations are getting out of line, and more that they aren’t going as far in depth as he wants them to. and while there are threads that he somehow has the superhuman energy to really dig his heels in on a point that he thinks we commenters are missing, he is for the most part finding that he himself is less a part of the conversation, or in control of the conversation, than simply a conversation overseer.

        or, perhaps in another analogy, he is a professor who likes to teach socratically, but this year has a class of three hundred students.

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          Interesting, enstar, now that you mention it, he has commented several times lately to the effect that we’re missing the point, or just not going deep enough. Size is certainly a part of the difficulty of controlling or steering the conversation.

        • Sorn Jessen

           /  March 24, 2011

          I think this is true. What started out as wine and conversation Courtesey of TNC at the Atlantic, has devolved into a kegger. I think part of the reason has to do with an increase in traffic, but there’s something else there that I can’t quite put my finger on.

          • See, I think in general, the conversation is still really excellent on the serious posts. But a lot of posts are treated like an OTAN in the making, and that’s… not right.

            I do think a lot of it is just volume though. 75% excellence in 100 comments is still easier to read than 75% excellence in 450 comments.

          • We all got a little metaphorical wine in us, and began to loosen our metaphorical ties, I think. At least in part.

            • SWNC

               /  March 24, 2011

              Yeah, I think that’s it. I make a point of never saying anything online that I wouldn’t say at a party with people I don’t know very well. But after I’ve had a couple of glasses of (metaphorical or actual) wine at that party…my standards for what are appropriate and constructive tend to relax a smidge.

          • enstar

             /  March 24, 2011

            i know i’m part of the new gang at tnc’s place, so i won’t pretend like i have the long-term perspective to authoritatively name that elusive shift that you allude to, but i have a guess:

            when i was in undergrad, i went to one of those schools where you got to know your professors extremely well–but they were still professors, and there was always still a certain decorum that governed our interactions wherever they happened. near the end of one of my senior seminar courses, though, we all had dinner at a professor’s house and, as the wine and beer flowed more freely, i think that decorum fell away–which was great, and totally appropriate for that setting.

            i think, though, that it would have been inappropriate if we were to have gone back to class with that same type of tipsy, casual silliness. when we’re doing business, we should be doing business.

            and i would guess that as we of the horde have gotten to know each other better, especially through the open threads, the line between classroom casual and third-glass-of-wine casual has gotten a little blurrier. i think the conversations on serious topics are excellent, still, but it has become easier to forget that professor coates is still our professor.

            if that analogy makes any sense.

            • enstar

               /  March 24, 2011

              or, what emily said, only much less windbaggishly.

            • Sorn Jessen

               /  March 24, 2011

              this was great, as was what em said but there’s no like button.

    • carlos the dwarf

       /  March 24, 2011

      Me too! I need a job!

    • taylor16

       /  March 24, 2011

      I don’t need a full-time job, but I could definitely do some moderating fill-in for a little extra money, since I’ll be losing my university stipend in May…

      So who wants to email him? 🙂

      • Juaquin Murrieta

         /  March 24, 2011

        I nominate you, taylor16.

        • taylor16

           /  March 24, 2011

          Heh. I hate being presumptuous. “It seems like you’re stressed and need help. Can I help?”

          It’s just … not in my personality. I will help people and give advice all day long if asked, but I almost never take the first step to ask if it’s needed. It almost makes my skin crawl to butt in like that … especially for a virtual stranger.

          • k___bee

             /  March 24, 2011

            Iiiiii knoooooooow. I’ve sent TNC email in the past, and I have kind of been champing at the bit to say “listen to my anecdotes about community management, which are not necessarily relevant, but in my head they are relevant because I am weird” but then I am like, isn’t that imposing and aren’t there like 5000 emails about comment-y bullshit bombarding his inbox anyway, and mightn’t part of the problem here be that the Horde has a wee bit of a sense of entitlement about being able to sound off on everything? Aaaaaaaah!

            • The e-mail I sent TNC earlier today is the first one I ever sent him and, no joke, I was more nervous about hitting “send” on that than on pretty much any message I’ve sent in the last year.

              • Juaquin Murrieta

                 /  March 24, 2011

                I’m glad you did it, though. I hope he hears from many of the solid members of the community – might have some influence.

                • taylor16

                   /  March 24, 2011

                  Aw, now I feel bad. I will email him too.

      • Anibundel

         /  March 24, 2011

        I will email TNC tonight, once I’m home and not pecking at an iPod.

  6. Ian

     /  March 24, 2011

    Our governor has nominated to the Alaska Judicial Council (they nominate judges) a man who believes in criminalizing pre-marital sex:

    “I can see where it would be a matter for the state to be involved with because of the spread of disease and the likelihood that it would cause violence. I can see legitimate reasons to push that as a crime.”

    Here’s the article:

    http://www.adn.com/2011/03/23/1772266/senate-panel-questions-judicial.html

    It’s pretty funny. It would be funnier if it were about some other state.

    • I… wow.

      I really cannot get past, “head, meet desk.”

    • Juaquin Murrieta

       /  March 24, 2011

      I hope someone shoots this idea down quick.

      The law and lawyers typically try to exercise restraint. Because something is A Bad Thing does not mean that we can effectively use the power of the State to stop it. Traditionally, for example, business partners cannot sue one another unless they also dissolve the partnership, not because it’s a great thing when partners cheat one another, but because it’s a very close relationship, legally, and having the State wade in there, even in a civil suit….well, we’re just better off staying out of that soup. Even more so, criminal law. Criminalizing assault inside the marriage relationship, which a VERY good idea, also involves the courts in a lot of he-said-she-said, a lot of unenforceable mutual restraint orders, a lot of crap and wasted time and energy by law enforcement.

      Even granting for a moment the questionable premise that pre-marital sex is Bad, what does this guy think? That the State can or should repeal human nature?

      • k___bee

         /  March 24, 2011

        I’m going to go with yes, he thinks the State can and should repeal human nature.

        These people fucking creep me out.

    • I can’t wait for the cops to arrest that’s judges kids/grandkids for naughty thoughts. Oh, wait, they’ll have a signed waiver on them I bet. Probably got it laminated, too. It’ll be the rest of us having our kids and grandkids arrested. Since we’re not judges, after all.

    • JHarper2

       /  March 24, 2011

      Extra-marital sex, which is more accurately what Mr Haase is hoping to recriminalise was for many centuries a crime in common law countries. This was related it is true to a man interfering with another mans “property” and declined with society’s increasing acceptance of woman as more than property and fully deserving of human rights and agency. I believe adultery in several states is still a civil offense for which the offenders can be sued.

      The Eagle Forum of which Mr Haase was a local leader is an extreme organization headed by Phyllis Schlafly who headed the effort to defeat the ERA. Among other current projects they wish to keep out immigrants to protect against third-world diseases.
      Link to this Organizations Home Page is here.
      http://www.eagleforum.org/misc/descript.html

      • Ian

         /  March 24, 2011

        Thanks for the info on the Eagle Forum.

        I think Haase is most concerned with extra-marital sex, but he was asked about premarital sex as a follow-up. The quote in my comment pertains specifically to premarital sex (Paskvan: “What about premarital affairs — should that be a crime?”)

      • Juaquin Murrieta

         /  March 24, 2011

        These laws have long been dead letters, for the reasons you list, and were probably a bad idea from the get-go (which is why they became dead letters). For reasons of the difficulty of enforcement, if for no other.

        Those who refuse to study history are condemned to repeat it, I guess.

        More likely the whole thing is mere political posturing. No one in their senses thinks, surely, that any such law can or should be enforced.

        • Ian

           /  March 24, 2011

          Honestly, I don’t think this even rises to the level of political posturing. From the article, I get the sense that Haase is kind of a dim guy who came to the hearing unprepared and then shot from the hip. In other words, I think these are his actual beliefs!

  7. To the Orlando TNC’ers: we gotta find a restaurant STAT because Saturday IS TWO DAYS AWAY and I wanna make sure we can gather for a dinner or night out or something this Mar. 26th!

    Right now I’m looking at either Buffalo Wild Wings near the convention center, or this Bahama Breeze on International Dr. C’mon folks!

    • The real problem, of course, is that I have no idea how many of your Local Horde might even know to come here. Do you have any way to contact them? It might be worth an email to TNC asking for some top-down help, like: “I know you’re closing comments when you can’t be at the computer, but there’s an event in the works, and I don’t know how to get in touch with people. Could you help a brother out?” Maybe?

      • Okay. I emailed him. Both about the moderator job offer suggestion 🙂 as well as the “please let people know about Orlando Battalion Gathering” part.

      • taylor16

         /  March 24, 2011

        Do you think that since we seem to be becoming a real community, we should think about starting up a separate space where people can post events/requests for help/etc?

        It could be an email-based thing with just a few people having access, similar to the recipe site. People could email their listing (“Orlando Horde Meetup – time, place, details” or “I need someone to do some part-time website design work for me, any Horde members interested?”), and then the people monitoring the email address could post the listings. Then anyone from the community could mosey on over and comment, and we could all stay in touch and keep each other updated on events/requests even if TNC closes up shop for a little bit.

        Thoughts? I may even be willing to handle the moderation/email address. I like the community and would like to help keep it intact.

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          Yahoo runs Groups. I belong to several. They’re special interest things. We could start one, it’s pretty easy.

          • taylor16

             /  March 24, 2011

            Ooh, good idea. I don’t know anything about Yahoo groups. But I’d be happy to help.

            • Juaquin Murrieta

               /  March 24, 2011

              I’m willing to start one, but not willing to run it all by myself. Especially since I’m about to leave town! My memory is, you can have several moderators, and there are lots of different options. What does everyone else think?

            • Juaquin Murrieta

               /  March 24, 2011

              For the internet-shy, I’m pretty sure that no one need give a real name. All you need is an email address, same as Disqus.

          • Yes! A Yahoo Group! Because I am not on the Book of Faces and would be very much In The Dark if we gather at Zuckerberg’s Place of Evil.

  8. Darth Thulhu

     /  March 24, 2011

    Thank you for these. I am largely confined to workday / lurkday (non-)engagement with the OTAN, but it’s nice to have a place whose moderator can be here during the posting wave, with consequently more-enjoyable threads to read when the dust settles.

    So, my own quick contribution:

    I am not buying all the arguments about Libya from people trying to claim that the government really had a nigh-infinite diversity of responses to choose from. Once anything encouraging is said by the government about any democracy protestor anywhere, whether in Tunisia or Egypt or Iran or Yemen or Libya, the government’s options, to me, ultimately boils down to two classes of response: Put Up, or Shut Up

    “Shut Up” is the array of responses we engage in when we either don’t really give a damn, or when the consequences of doing anything impactful are sky high. Having made North Korea a pariah state already, we “shut up” about any number of provocations. We’ll issue condemnations, we’ll conduct military exercises, we’ll ratchet sanctions … but we refuse to engage the actual regime directly on the ground. Anyone and everyone opposing Kim is on their own, publically (though the CIA may arrange creative arms support).

    Likewise China crushing Tianenmen. Likewise the Soviets rolling armored columns through neighboring countries. Likewise Iran today, especially if it gets nukes. The consequences of meddling through aerial sorties would be sky high carnage in retribution, and we have no stomach for actual invasion. So we “shut up” and tinker with sanctions and diplomatic proclamations and that’s that.

    The only other real response group I see is “put up,” which I don’t see as a diverse array of possible responses, but rather as an escalating series of engagements designed to secure a goal we’ve committed ourselves to, once violent opposition to that goal has been made manifest. Ultimately, the “diverse array” is actually a ratcheted, linear spectrum of increasingly violent and expensive acts, and the only way to stop escalating is to either achieve the motivating goal, to concede defeat and drop back to “shut up” responses, or to split the difference with some kind of face-saving declaration of sufficient victory followed by disengagement.

    If people don’t want the West to have to “put up” when anti-tyrant populations start getting widely slaughtered, those same people should, morally, not gush and enthuse and publically support our government’s encouragement of those same anti-tyrant populations back at the protestor stage. Once our government has publically established “Goal: Dictator cedes some power” as a good idea, all it takes is one systemic slaughter to get our government on the spot. Put up or shut up.

    If anyone is unhappy with the Western intervention in Libya, I pray they haven’t once said in the past few months that “Obama needs to take a stronger stand in support of these brave protesters.” Because really, the thing that makes Libya different than Côte d’Ivoire is that our government started publically establishing Goals for conduct and outcome in Arab country after Arab country. Anyone wishing Obama had been more explicit and less Delphic in his support of the anti-tyrant uprisings would have been moving the timeframe of “put up or shut up” choices toward smaller scale tyrant atrocities.

    Ben Ali did not call our bluff, in the end. Neither did Mubarak, nor does it appear Saleh will. But Qaddafi totally did, and Assad is likely to. There isn’t a “wide array” of options when tank columns get mobilized, journalists get captured, and state TV announces skirmishes with terrorists while the army blows up hospitals and mosques. We can “put up” and say that won’t stand, and begin taking escalating responses to end the domestic abuse, or we can “shut up” and issue mealy-mouthed sanctions and diplomatic condemnations while permitting the patriarch to terrorize and murder all his disobedient children.

    I really don’t see any third way between those paths.

    • JHarper2

       /  March 24, 2011

      I wish I had a like button for this post.
      I read you as saying that the US will and can take action when it reasonably can, and when the consequences of action are blowing up the world or part of it, it is better to play a much longer game (See Czechoslovakia 1948 and 1968,and Hungary 1956).
      The longer game consists of sanctions, international isolation, and building international consensus against the offending countries and snapping them back as Mr Bush Sr did with Iraq over Kuwait.
      It should also be pointed out that the engagement with the former Egyptian government, led to having foreign tentacles into its government and military apparatus, which partially limited the governments response options. (Military was hooked on foreign money and arms supplies, which they wanted to keep.

      • evilado

         /  March 24, 2011

        Bringing things full circle, a major reason that the west didn’t say more for Hungary in 1956* was the difficulty in condemning Soviet interference without condemning western interference in the Suez Crisis the day before. Plus there was never a shadow of a doubt that the Soviets would veto any substantive resolution at the UN.

        And I really want to talk with the ELBC folks about the rounds of “What Would John Quincy Adams Do?” that Andrew is highlighting over at the Daily Dish. More for the fun of history than any semblance of insight on Libya, though.

        *As for the Prague Spring, there’s always Vietnam. Or Dominican Republic ’66, Indonesia ’65-66, Chile ’73. Plus plenty of other conflicts and protests throughout the 1st and 3rd worlds that could have required a bloody crackdown with tacit approval of the west. Makes today seem simple in comparison.

    • Little_Gidding

       /  March 24, 2011

      Thank you for voicing several things I was thinking with more finesse than I could possibly have mustered. To me, nothing about Libya seems out of line with US goals or anything Obama’s said.

      Policy has to look at reality, whether foreign or domestic. You have to look at the costs–that is, the likely responses to any action you may take, including inaction. Then you decide which action is best. Some of it is self-interest, and some of it is about being honest with ourselves about what is likely to happen to the people of the country at the end of the day (i.e. after our intervention is over). There are times when you can’t make it better, and if anything I wish we thought more about that (*cough*Iraq*cough*) than less.

  9. Commenting only for the purpose of establishing the fact that I am lurking here. Thanks for inviting us again Emily.

    • And I am replying only for the purpose of establishing the fact that I say: Hello! /waves at you

      • I am replying only for the purpose of doing something with my hands, because it’s a Thursday afternoon and I am bored out of my unemployed mind.

        There’s only so much cleaning of one’s house before you realize all you’re doing is shuffling piles around. 😦

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          If you were closer I’d put you to cleaning up my workload (it is a fiction that all legal work requires a lawyer) and getting me ready to leave town!

          And here I am nattering on the internet anyway! [shakes head]

        • How about my house? I’ve got the same problem but I can’t motivate myself to clean it. You can have it. I need a job too!

          • All I’ll end up doing is shuffling the junk from one bedroom into another bedroom. You’ll end up sleeping in Muffy’s closet by the time I’m done, and none the cleaner…

        • And may I say for the record that one of the hardiest things about being unemployed is the almost losing of one’s mind, not so much from isolation, but from a lack of real opportunities to communicate. I mean, I was, at one time, paid to think. More than reading the writings of so many on the OTAN, the privilege of actually conversing with so many open, thoughtful and smart personalities is invaluable. The fact that you don’t all agree all the time, or at all, is part of the value. It really goes a long way toward strengthening and preserving the very part of my mind I will need if and when I am ever out of this mess.

          However, watching otherwise intelligent, contributing members of the group deteriorate into back alley cat and dog fighting is as strange as watching co-workers and team members come close to fisticuffs in the board room. (I’ve seen this. Once it involved the CEO and a Senior Executive.) It’s weird. Usually somebody distracts somebody with something and removes another somebody to another space. SO, I’m all for this appointed moderator with a kill switch when TNC is not around. But when he is around, there is also something special about the way he handles his own space. Just sayin’.

  10. Anibundel

     /  March 24, 2011

    Good news: today I am mostly functional, in a backbrace, but functional.

    • Ouch. Take care!

    • taylor16

       /  March 24, 2011

      Oh no! The old shoulder/back thing that happened at work?

    • k___bee

       /  March 24, 2011

      Ow, girl. Ow. I hope you feel better soon…

    • SWNC

       /  March 24, 2011

      Yikes! Feel better soon. Don’t let those three-year-olds push you around!

    • JHarper2

       /  March 24, 2011

      Today in 55 year olds.
      I envy three year olds their flexibility.

  11. Re: Ta-Nehisi’s dismay about the occasional horrific comment on his Open Threads.

    John Cole over on Balloon-Juice is griping about the same problem. http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/03/24/open-thread-962/ It’s not that rare, and it happens a lot whenever there’s a popular traffic blogspot that tries to cater to readers by providing a relatively open Comment system.

    The secret to maintaining an Open Thread area at a blog? The secret is love, not romantic love but love of people. For all our folly and our foibles, for all our joy and our jerkness. God Loves Us. And so should the Open Comment providers.

    • I will say as someone who frequents both sites that my ideal moderating would be a cross between BJ’s snark & sweaing and TNC’s thoughtful comments without the personal attacks.

    • stephen matlock

       /  March 25, 2011

      Where’s the LIKE button?

  12. enstar

     /  March 24, 2011

    girl talk, by the way, was incredible. a top 10 show for sure. more than anything else, i think i loved that it was basically an hour and a half of uninterrupted music and dancing–or, in my case, a hilarious approximation of something that might only by very generous people be called “dancing”. there was none of the “let’s pause between songs and talk about how awesome we are” crap that bands too often do. nope, the skinny bastard was mixing and bouncing and climbing all over his tables with the sort of energy that makes me wonder what quantity of uppers are running through his blood on a daily basis.

    this is now the second show i’ve been to, ever, with a sold out crowd–i’m more used to the 100 person cadres at “who the hell are these guys?” concerts–and i didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as i did. happy 26th to me!

  13. Oy, apparently not everyone agrees with me on the relative moral value of Israeli vs. Palestinian pain and suffering (see: Yesterday’s post about same and the most recent comment on it).

    Whodda thunk?

    • Juaquin Murrieta

       /  March 24, 2011

      I’ve seen a lot of movement in this area of opinion in the last 20 years or so. Maybe more, more recently. Used to be, if you were Jewish or sort-of Jewish or someone in your family had once been Jewish your opinion of Israel came right out of the cookie-cutter: Israel Right, Everyone Else Wrong. My closest friend, otherwise an intelligent and sensitive person (and a Jew of Russian extraction who looked about as Jewish as any other fair-skinned red-headed person) once told me that “all you have to do is look at pictures of Palestinians, you can see that they’re not really Arabs.” The implication being, I guess, that some Unnamed Malign Power had rounded up Bad Troublemakers from all over the world and planted them in the area to stir up violence. That they didn’t “belong” there.

      On the other side, I had a friend who was a Palestinian Arab whose views were pretty much identical (except on the other side). All these people were safely in the United States of course.

      Now, I’m not hearing this kind of thing so much. Of course I know a lot more Jews than Arabs, but I’m noticing that most of my Jewish friends are expressing some misgivings about some of the courses Israel has been taking. It’s no longer so cut and dried; I can no longer predict with absolute certainty someone’s opinions on this topic merely by knowing that they are Jews.

      Any increase in independent thought is a good thing. Those who seek to bring an end to this conflict must start by increasing each side’s willingness to see the humanity of the “enemy.”

  14. k___bee

     /  March 24, 2011

    Ahem, I just realized: I was going to ask about the mysterious Golden Horde facebook group which is apparently around somewhere? 🙂

    • k___bee

       /  March 24, 2011

      Although honestly, you ladies & gentlemen do keep the creepiness far far away, right? I am Internet Paranoid as hell

      • taylor16

         /  March 24, 2011

        It’s all locked down, completely.

        Um, I don’t really want to plaster my real name all over the internets by telling you how to find me on facebook, but if you want to be added, shoot an email to the recipe email address (tncrecipes {at} gmail) with your real name. I can then friend you on FB and add you to the group? (then you will have my real name too, haha)

        • k___bee

           /  March 24, 2011

          awesome, then we can have each others’ names and ruin each others’ lives forever!

      • SWNC

         /  March 24, 2011

        Me, too! My first reaction was, “Oooh, a Facebook group! How fun!” Followed very shortly by, “But then people would know my real name!” Don’t know if I’m ready for that step yet. (Says the Internet Scaredy-Cat)

        • Juaquin Murrieta

           /  March 24, 2011

          See my comment about Yahoo Groups, above. No real names required if we start one. All you need is an email address. I’m taking a poll. What does everyone think?

          • taylor16

             /  March 24, 2011

            I think this sounds like a great idea. If nothing else, it might be a nice place for people to post announcements, requests for info that they don’t want to keep reposting in OTANs, etc.

            I’d also be willing to help as a moderator, as long as there were a few of us collaborating on whatever responsibilities that would entail.

          • SWNC

             /  March 24, 2011

            I’d be into it. (Especially since most of what I post on Facebook is cute stuff about the kid, which people who don’t actually know the kid wouldn’t care about.)

    • Just to note: SOME people are Luddites and are not on Facebook. Not to mention any names. Like “Emily.” For instance.

    • You know my name. I will not hide behind a Guy Fawkes mask. I will hide behind a sexy ceramic mask for cosplay, but that’s for another issue. Where is this facebook page.

  15. Hey, dad gave us our ball back: http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/03/the-lost-battalion/72995/

    He’s also posting about Shani O Hilton’s wave-making piece.

  16. dmf

     /  March 30, 2011

    hey ee , some stories of motherhood: http://www.wpr.org/book/110327a.cfm

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